Cranston apartment building deemed unlivable after 2nd-floor walkway crumbles

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The residents of a Cranston apartment building arrived home Tuesday to find they can’t stay there for the time being.

The Broad Street building was declared “unlivable” after part of the second-floor walkway collapsed, according to Mayor Ken Hopkins.

As a result, tenants of 39 units had to pack their belongings and head to the William Hall Library, where the city had set up a temporary command center.

“We are going to try and supply some food and water for them, alleviate their fears, that’s my biggest concern,” Hopkins said.

One resident told 12 News she called 911 Monday night after her daughter nearly fell through as the walkway started to buckle. Firefighters responded and started poking around, she said, which is when pieces started to crumble away.

“My daughter went up on the second floor to go to a neighbor and all of a sudden, the cement walkway just caved down,” Lorraine Pena recalled. “She got scared, she was a wreck, so I went looking and I said, ‘oh my God.'”

“We weren’t surprised in a way, because it’s bad up there,” Pena added. “I went up there another day to see the neighbor and it felt like it was going to fall through, and finally it did.”

The area was blocked off with yellow tape as building inspectors examined the structure.

During a meeting Tuesday afternoon with the building’s residents, Hopkins announced that 40 rooms have been secured for them at the Hilton Providence Hotel, along with transportation for anyone who needs it.

“This is probably going to be an extended stay,” the mayor noted.

Hopkins said the company who manages the property will be responsible for covering those accommodations.

Cranston City Councilwoman Lammis Vargas agreed, adding that it’s not up to the city to foot the bill.

“As a city, I believe we are here to work with the property owner, but ultimately, it is the responsibility of the property owner,” Vargas said.

Since tenants recently paid rent for the month, some inquired as to what will be done with that money.

A representative for HPM Management, the company that owns the building, attended the meeting and said they will help the residents in any way they can, adding that residents will be able to apply for rent relief.

Hopkins said a building inspector will begin assessing the property Wednesday morning.

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